Many of us in the consciousness raising movement become very focused on ourselves to the point of forgetting to respect others. But the path to enlightenment means we must learn the lesson of respecting all creation, including others and ourselves. A big part of loving is respecting.
We must first respect ourselves. As divine creations, God loves us wholly and unconditionally. So, if we were so beloved of God, why would we not treat ourselves with respect? By respecting ourselves, we understand and forgive our own mistakes. After all, that is how we learn. We respect ourselves by taking good care of ourselves. Our bodies are the temples of God.
We must also respect others. We are all at various parts of our spiritual paths. Some of us have learned a lot and some have a lot to learn. Often, we do not know where we stand on that continuum. And, just as we are unhappy with those who conduct themselves as if no one else matters, we must remember to conduct ourselves while remembering everyone around us is beloved of God and deserves respect as such.
Finally, we must be respectful of all creation. Actions we perform and choices we make always affect the world we live in. We need to think about our choices and what their effects are. Are we attempting to live sustainably? Are we trying to reduce our impact on the environment? Are we avoiding exploitation of other cultures? But we must also be gentle with ourselves on how we are able to live within our current means. Being militant about a green lifestyle might stress us more than is healthy. We must do the best we can.
This brings us full circle back to respecting ourselves.